When they think about mixed martial arts training, people still fixate on the idea that MMA requires workouts so hardcore, they make CrossFit look like a piece of cake. Not true. MMA is not about fighters performing high intensity training until they get sick.
Like any other sport, MMA has unique demands, and if you want to maximize your performance, you need to work to meet them. Also like other sports, MMA has an energy system requirement. It's not an anaerobic sport; it's actually an aerobic power and anaerobic alactic sport. (See Build your own MMA Conditioning Circuit.)
What's that all mean? Aerobic is defined as "with oxygen." It's the dominant energy system for activity lasting longer than two minutes. MMA fights typically last two to five minutes for multiple rounds. Developing your aerobic system allows you to stay strong throughout a round and recover faster.
Anaerobic means "without oxygen," and alactic means "without lactic acid." This energy system powers short bursts of action lasting from one to ten seconds. A well developed anaerobic alactic system allows you to perform better during the actual fight.
To dominate in the octagon, you need to develop your aerobic power and your anaerobic alactic system. (Still confused? Read the truth behind aerobic and anaerobic training.) The best way to do this is with the following four drills. Pick one drill from each category and perform them twice a week, alternating between them on nonconsecutive days. When you want to emphasize one of the two, do it three times a week and the other once a week.
Aerobic System MMA Drills
Repeat six to 12 times. Increase distance as you improve.
- Pick a distance like 60 yards
- Sprint the distance and record your time
- Multiply by .75
- Jog the distance back in that time
- Rest 45 to 60 seconds after each jog
Jog for 30 to 45 minutes. On a scale of 10, one being a walk and 10 being a dead sprint, try to stay at a 6 or 7 pace.
Anaerobic Alactic System MMA Drills
- Sprint for five to 10 seconds at a 9 pace
- Rest for two to three minutes
- Repeat until sprint performance improves by 10 percent
Select the heaviest dumbbells you can handle and walk as fast as possible.
- Set a distance that takes 10 seconds to walk
- Grab a heavy pair of dumbbells and walk the distance
- Rest two to three minutes
- Repeat until performance improves by 10 percent
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